DVD Review: Silent House
It's got to be hard to make a genre film. With so many tropes to compete with, you have to do something different to try to get recognized. Enter Silent House and its reputation of being the "single-shot" film. Unfortunately, it's not really enough to make it stand out from the crowd.
Continuously followed by a camera, Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) is helping her father and uncle clean up the massive, yet dilapidated, family vacation home. As night quickly approaches, very odd noises and events begin to taunt Sarah, but escape from the dark, isolated house becomes impossible.
Silent House may have been ambitious in its experimental filming (though it wasn't really shot in 80 straight minutes), but it wasn't terribly ambitious in any other aspect. I'm not sure if it's the writing or lack of cuts in the action, but for a horror film, Silent House was rather boring. As I watched Olsen walk from room to room, hide under various objects of furniture or silently cry when she can't find a key to escape, my tolerance level for such repetition topped out around the 45-minute mark.
Even though the film wasn't holding my interest, I was still hoping to walk away with some enjoyment from Olsen, who blew me away in last year's Martha Marcy May Marlene. Sadly, the character of Sarah isn't much to go on for most of the action as she just does all the actions stated in the last paragraph. Once the film turned more into a psychological thriller, I couldn't help but feel Olsen blurred the lines of reality much more convincingly in the far more superior MMMM. And by the time inevitable twist was revealed, I was just ready for the shenanigans to end, after a sinking been-there-done-that feeling.
So once the excitement of the "single-shot" wore off after five minutes, Silent House lacked the writing and character development to become more than the gimmick it sold itself as.